by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com

Nearly three years into his UFC tenure, Clay Guida finds himself with a 5-4 record in the Octagon coming off of a razor thin split decision loss to Diego Sanchez on Saturday night, a couple more rungs growing on the ladder he climbs in a well-stocked division. 

With a roster that is bursting at the seams, many fighters coming off of a loss, especially with a record just above .500, would start to worry about their position within the promotion. But not Guida. Yeah, he’s now a couple of steps further back in the line to a title shot, but he doesn’t even entertain the thought of being deemed irrelevant to the championship picture. 

“I still feel I’m the best out here in the lightweights. It might take me another year to get that title shot,” Guida told MMAWeekly.com after the fight. 

That’s what happens when you put on the heart-filled, thrilling performances that he is known for. How quickly will fans forget his epic battles with Tyson Griffin, Roger Huerta, Mac Danzig, Nate Diaz, and now, Diego Sanchez? 

That kind of effort, even a losing effort, earns Guida a roster exemption. 

In fact, he thought maybe he won the fight that the judges didn’t, although he didn’t take anything away from Sanchez either. 

“I gotta give him credit. He’s one of the first guys to take me down in the cage. He didn’t really do much with it, but he still scored some points,” said Guida. “He brought a little bit of everything, kicks, punches, takedown, takedown defense.” 

Even in the face of a loss – a painful loss putting an end to a three-fight winning streak that had him racing towards a title shot – he never wavers from his affable demeanor. 

“It’s gonna set me back a little bit, but I’m already thinking about getting back in the gym and really taking this seriously.” 

The fight with Sanchez was one of an unprecedented three that shared honors as Fights of the Night – each fighter involved receiving a $25,000 bonus for the designation – but it did leave Guida with something to work on. 

Looking back on the fight, asked what he would change if given the opportunity, he declared, “Knock him out instead… win!” 

(Click here to watch Clay Guida’s complete In The Cage interview with MMAWeekly.com following his fight with Diego Sanchez at The Ultimate Fighter Finale)